Family law refers to areas of law such as divorce, child support, adoption, pre-nuptial agreements and child custody. If you are dealing with a family law issue in Cook County, Illinois we almost always recommend that you hire a Cook County based attorney to handle your case or someone who regularly appears there.
Cook County family law cases are split up into three basic divisions: Domestic Relations, Child Support, and Child Protection. Domestic Relations courts hear divorce, child custody, and visitation matters. Child Support courts hear all cases regarding payment of support fees by a parent to the parent in custody of the child. Child Protection courts hear all cases of abused or neglected children.
Although all domestic relations claims must be filed in Room 802 of the Daley Center, Cook County splits its domestic relations courts by location of claimant. If the claim is being brought inside the City of Chicago, the case will take in the Daley Center located in downtown Chicago at 50 W. Washington. There are over 25 judges actively sitting in the Domestic Relations Division at the Daley Center. As a result, unlike many smaller counties, Cook County judges are not as likely to develop a familiarity and opinion on attorneys.
Suburban based domestic relations claims, while filed in the same division as Chicago claims, are routed to the sitting family law judge in that suburb’s district. As a result, this may result in a more localized atmosphere, with judges becoming accustomed to certain attorneys.
Child protection cases are heard at the Cook County Juvenile Court, which is located at 1100 S. Hamilton St. Although falling underneath family law, proceedings in these matters are generally filed for by state representatives. There are over 15 judges that hear child protection cases, of which there are many.
Child Support cases, which are filed at 28 N. Clark, are heard at the Parentage Court, which is located in downtown Chicago at 32. W. Randolph. This court is considerably smaller than domestic relations courts, as there are only 4 judges that hear cases in the Parentage Court.
Although Cook County has less of a tight knit legal community than other districts, in order to provide proper assistance in a family law cases, it is likely better to have an attorney that understands the atmosphere surrounding the courts and has some experience in front of specific judges. Additionally, in matters such as child support, the smaller number of judges makes an experienced attorney more likely to have developed a familiarity with specific judges.
Anyone going through a family law related legal matter should contact an experienced Cook County Family law attorney to ensure that they are represented to their most beneficial legal degree.